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Vanderbilt in Hooverville: Day 3 v. Ole Miss

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Vandy and Ole Miss face off for the first time this year in a game that might just matter more than most SEC tourney games in determining host sites.

Kevin O'Sullivan's wife watching last night's loss to LSU.
Kevin O'Sullivan's wife watching last night's loss to LSU.

Go ahead and sleep in.  I did (though, to be honest, I don't have to go into work today, as I'll be grading final exams for the rest of this weekend).  With last night's 6-5 win, we have earned the right to nap, damn it, and will play Ole Piss at 4:30pm CT (SECN).

However, if you are up, and can spend your day watching these games at home on TV or at work on mute with your mouse on the minimize button lest you hear footsteps, I highly suggest doing so.  Every team left (with the possible exception of Alabama, though I don't think so) is a stone cold lock for an NCAA tournament bid, with seven of them (again, Alabama is the only outlier) presenting iron-clad cases to host a Regional.  Further, each of those 7 teams has a legitimate argument that they should be one of the 8 National Seed hosts.

As such, look for narratives to shape and be changed by today's events.  If you are some kind of degenerate, like me, who can't ever turn off a close game, you watched every pitch of LSU's highly improbably 14 inning comeback win against the Jortsville Gators.  LSU (a quite good, but flawed team) was down 2-0, and AJ Puk was dominant on the mound.  With Florida's bullpen (especially guys like Dane Dunning), it should have been over.

In the top of the 8th, the Rally Possum, Marie Laveau, Boudreaux the magic Cajun, Jobu, and at least one of the angels from Disney's Angels in the Outfield showed up to tell AJ Puk he used to be Mel Clark.  With one out, freshman Central Casting Cajun Name Antoine Duplantis doubled and Jake Fraley singled.  Immediately following this, the weird crap started happening.  Florida catcher Mike Rivera, who is a defensive maven, completely unravelled, and in trying to gun down Fraley (who appeared to have intentionally hung himself up between 1st and 2nd to draw the throw), Rivera threw it into the outfield, which allowed Duplantis to score, and Fraley to go to 3rd.  Following that, Mr. Luck himself, Kramer Robertson hit a weak grounder to the drawn in SS that should have gunned Fraley down at home.  And on first look it did (and 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th... I have a DVR).  The umpire, who must have had pixie dust thrown in his eyes, called Fraley safe.  Robertson swipe 2nd and advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch.  Beau Jordan then hit him home, and the Rally Possums had a 3-2 lead.

But that wasn't the crazy part.  Or at least the craziest part.

In the bottom of the 11th, the Jorts loaded the bases with no out.  Before we go on, it's important to point out how they loaded the bases.  Schwarz had a leadoff walk, Buddy Reed attempted to sacrifice bunt, but the pitcher walked him, and then Mike Rivera successfully got a bunt down, and the Gators loaded it when LSU pitcher Jesse "Kevin" Stallings tried to get the out at 3rd.  In these situations, there is an 85% chance a run will score.  LSU coach Paul Manieri went with 5 infielders and 2 outfielders, knowing anything that finds a hole in the infield, or gets to the middle of the outfield ends the game.  And, you know... it worked because of course it did.  If you've been watching LSU over these last 13 games, you've learned not to question it.  LSU then scored 2 runs in the 14th to win it.

Of course, we played a damned exciting game yesterday morning, as well.  How often would a freshman pinch hitter (Walker Grisanti) hitting his first career home run to win the game off the best reliever in college baseball (Mark Ecker), who had only allowed 1 ER on the season for the #2 team in the nation not be the lead story from Hooverville?  Well, when LSU goes full Disney Movie about Voodoo, as seen above.

For the TL;DR crowd, this means aTm is playing the South Cackalacky Game Penises in a classic "Penises v. aTm" matchup that just made me throw up in my mouth this morning.  aTm is currently up 3-1 in the 5th as I type.  Loser goes home.  Following that, Logan Shore and the Jorts will all but certainly send the Ramajama Nittany Tide home (unless they are experiencing residual effects from their voodoo curse last night).

In the winner's bracket, Vandy takes on Ole Piss at 4:30 CT, and LSU faces Mississippi State 30 minutes after our game ends.  We'll have our #1, Friday Starter Jordan "Top Sheff" Sheffield (8-4, 2.38) on the mound.  Ole Piss will not have their best pitcher throwing, and are likely deciding between righties "Hanging" Chad Smith (4-4, 4.04) or James "Genius Grant" MacArthur (5-1, 4.34).  If it's Hanging Chad (and that's likely), we should get some hits.  Though he's averaging around 9 K/9, opponents bat .271 against him.

Either way, it's looking pretty likely that we will be facing a RHP.  I think it's pretty safe to say Delay will be back behind the plate, Ethan "Chili P" Paul will lead off and DH, Julian "Chinfante" Infante will man first, and Alonzo "Human Highlight Reel" Jones will play second.  Where it could get interesting is in the decision Corbs will have to make at LF.  Ro Coleman has been a nightmare at the plate, swinging at every first pitch, and killing rallies like it was his destiny.  He's alternated between making highlight catches and head-scratching bungles in the field, as well.

Corbin, I implore you to go with the hot hand and start Walker "Texas Banger" Grisanti.  Not only did he come in cold and hit a game winning HR against the best reliever in baseball, but he's been destroying right handed pitchers all season.  He's got video game numbers (.519 BA, 1.532 OPS) against righties this year, and you can at least count on him to play an average LF defensively.  Put 5 freshmen in the lineup, Corbs.  You know you want to.

See you at 4:30pm.

Hugs and kisses,

-Andrew